These magical, surreal photos win 2022 Mobile Photography Awards

Tips & Techniques

We could argue forever whether gear matters or not. In some cases, it does, but if you know light, composition, and have an eye for beauty around you, a smartphone will do just fine. In fact, even more than fine!

Mobile Photography Awards (MPA) is a perfect example of what photographers mean when they say that gear doesn’t matter. The 2022 contest winners have just been announced, and they are truly marvelous examples of photography – of course, all taken with smartphones.

This year marks the 11th annual contest, making it the longest-running international competition for photos shot and edited exclusively on mobile phones or tablets. The grand prize has been awarded to Liu KunKun, a Shanghai-based amateur photographer with a talent for minimalism and strong use of color and emotion. Liu has won $3,000 US for a portfolio, and I personally love his style. His photos are minimalistic, yet intriguing, even kind of magical and surreal. And he shot all of them with an iPhone12 ProMax. “I try to dismantle the original order of the landscape, and then restack and reorganize,” Liu says, “with a simple visual language to express new abstract imagery and explore the boundaries of photography.”

Liu’s work has won among over 5,500 photos submitted from more than 90 countries. But there are category winners as well. There are 12 themed categories including Landscapes, Portraits, Black & White, Visual FX, Street Photography, and more.

“The 11th Annual Mobile Photography Awards stand as a testament to another year in the ongoing story and evolution of mobile phone cameras,” says MPA founder Daniel Berman, a photographer and filmmaker based near Toronto, Canada. “The iPhone is still the most widely used by our entrants but this year we’ve seen a huge variety of camera phones used for our winning photos,” he adds, noting that the work submitted to the contest gets better every year.

Enjoy the category winners below, and you can also take a look at the last year’s selection. You’ll find more about the contest on Mobile Photography Awards website. And remember, if you’re inspired to take photos and willing to learn the art of photography, a smartphone camera is more than enough.

© Shinya Ithana/Mobile Photography Awards 

© Jason Liu/Mobile Photography Awards

© Erika Brothers/Mobile Photography Awards

© Kuanglong Zhang/Mobile Photography Awards

© Roy Pan/Mobile Photography Awards

© James Peck/Mobile Photography Awards

© Svetlin Osifov/Mobile Photography Awards

© Azim Khan Ronnie/Mobile Photography Awards

© Angelica Loustaunau/Mobile Photography Awards

© Anh Vu Do/Mobile Photography Awards

© Junbiao Cai/Mobile Photography Awards

© Wai Ying Kwok/Mobile Photography Awards

Photo essays

First place: Vince Keresnyei

Second place: Jeff Larason

Third place: Alessandra Manzotti

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